Recent Events

Tuesday 11 September 2018

‘Peril in the Cotswolds’ by Rebecca Tope

Published by Allison & Busby,
22 March 2018.
ISBN: 978-0-7490-2199-39PB)

This is the 15th in this author’s popular cosy crime series set in the Cotswolds. Her sleuth, Thea, is now married to green undertaker Drew Slocombe and stepmother to his two children. The children are quite young so, rather than continuing with her previous house-sitting jobs, she is fulltime accustoming herself to life as wife and mother and settling with her new family and her beloved dog Hepzie into a new home in the village of Broad Campden. She would like to get to know other people in the village and when a neighbour tells Drew that an elderly couple living nearby are quarrelling ferociously, so much so that Thea, always keen to involve herself in the lives of others, wonders if she could get to know them and, in some way, help them. The wife, Hilary, is interested in Thea’s spur of the moment suggestion that they start a group researching the late 19th century Arts and Crafts Movement, in particular one of the founder members, C R Ashbee. But at the same time, she seems very distressed about the fact that her sister is in hospital and is dying. The husband, however, is only interested in playing bridge; he is expecting a group of friends to play that afternoon and is annoyed at Thea’s arrival; in fact, he appears to be mentally unstable. And the sister’s dog which Hilary has been looking after has run off; Thea offers to go and look for her which she does along with Rachel Ottaway, one of the bridge players. The next day the dog is still missing, and Rachel and Thea again search for her but to no avail. They go to the Bunting’s house and find that neither Hilary nor Graham are there. Until, that is, they discover Hilary’s naked body in the freezer.

This is very much in the tradition of the author’s Cotswold mysteries in which an outwardly charming, peaceful village is revealed as being riven with anger and distrust. The truth behind Hilary’s death is eventually revealed by Thea in a truly amazing twist. Fans of the cosy genre will look on this book as an excellent addition to the series. A map at the beginning of the book marks the various Cotswold villages in which Thea has unmasked assorted murderers. But now that Thea has settled down, will she still be unmasking murderers in the future?
Reviewer: Radmila May

Rebecca Tope is the author of four popular murder mystery series, featuring Den Cooper, Devon police detective, Drew Slocombe, Undertaker, Thea Osborne, house sitter in the Cotswolds, and more recently Persimmon (Simmy) Brown, a florist. Rebecca grew up on farms, first in Cheshire then in Devon, and now lives in rural Herefordshire on a smallholding situated close to the beautiful Black Mountains. Besides "ghost writer" of the novels based on the ITV series Rosemary and Thyme. Rebecca is also the proprietor of a small press - Praxis Books. This was established in 1992.

Radmila May was born in the U.S. but has lived in the U.K. since she was seven apart from seven years in The Hague. She read law at university but did not go into practice. Instead she worked for many years for a firm of law publishers and still does occasional work for them including taking part in a substantial revision and updating of her late husband’s legal practitioners’ work on Criminal Evidence published late 2015. She has also contributed short stories with a distinctly criminal flavour to two of the Oxford Stories anthologies published by Oxpens Press – a third story is to be published shortly in another Oxford Stories anthology – and is now concentrating on her own writing.

No comments:

Post a Comment